7:58 p.m. ET Welcome, dear friends, to HitFix’s live Emmy blog. If you’ve read my Emmy Predictions, you know that I plan on being surprised by nearly everything that happens on Sunday (Sept. 17) night, so follow along and comment appropriately…
8:00 p.m. To heck with “60 Minutes,” CBS is determined to start this sucker on time, beginning with a snarky tribute to television, the Emmys and the red carpet.
8:02 p.m. Neil Patrick Harris kicks the show off looking dapper and singing. “Don’t stuck that dial/because it’s been quite a while/since the dial was in style,” he croons, urging people to keep on watching. “Don’t hit the loo/and whatever you do/don’t put down the remote,” he repeats.
8:03 p.m. A Paula Abdul joke is accompanied by an empty chair, followed by a joke about how Christina Hendricks could “turn a gay straight.” Middle America is confused by who, exactly, Christina Hendricks is and why, exactly, it’s funny to turn a gay straight.
8:04 p.m. NPH is very good. This is already better than last year’s Reality Hosts Host the Emmys show.
8:05 p.m. “I will do my darndest to master the ceremonies tonight,” kids Harris, who admits he prefers reality shows and award shows to news. He laments the absence of television theme songs or at least how short they’ve gotten, using “Lost” as his example.
8:06 p.m. Our first Kanye West joke.
8:07 p.m. The band is on the stage this year. Even the control room is on stage.
8:08 p.m. In a new twist, this year’s show will be broken up by genre, starting with comedy and leading into a montage of the year’s comedies. As promised, it features a number of shows that Emmy voters forgot about, including “Scrubs.”
8:10 p.m. The night’s first two presenters are Jon Hamm and Tina Fey. “Good evening and thank you for looking at us,” Hamm kids. Fey then jokes about Seth MacFarlane getting drunk and calls him “Seth MacFarland.” They’re getting a long time to make jokes.
8:11 p.m. Up first is Supporting Actress in a Comedy. And they’re all wearing funny eye-pieces. It’s odd. Except for Vanessa Williams.
8:13 p.m. Kristin Chenoweth is your winner and… Guess who predicted it? “I’m unemployed now, so I’d like to be on ‘Mad Men.’ I also love ‘The Office’ and ’24,'” says the adorably tear-filled Chenoweth, thanking the Academy for recognizing a show that’s no longer on the air.
8:15 p.m. Cat Deeley! She’s got something to do with the TV breakthrough award. But she doesn’t need a reason to be there. She just needs to reminding Emmy voters that she’s there so that she actually gets nominated in the Reality Host category next year.
8:20 p.m. John Hodgeman is working as the night’s color commentator. He was the one providing commentary on Kristin. He’s a PC. He’ll be making it up as he goes along, he promises. This is better than the year Peter Coyote was the Oscar announcer.
8:21 p.m. NPH introduces the rest of his “How I Met Your Mother” cast. It’s a category that’s 80 percent “30 Rock,” which prompts a joke from Jason Segel. The Emmy goes to… Matt Hubbard for “The Reunion” episode of “30 Rock.”
8:23 p.m. Hubbard’s speech is fast, starting with a note of appreciation for his junior high bully Walter Patterson.
8:24 p.m. Somebody named Barbie Ross was named TV’s biggest fan. She has the best seat in the house. And she totally didn’t win because she’s a very cute blonde. The joke is that she’s sitting behind two Harlem Globetrotters. Presumably not the same two Harlem Globetrotters appearing on “The Amazing Race.” On CBS. Starting next sunday.
8:25 p.m. “Amy and I are honored to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcast television,” Julia Louis-Dreyfuss says, before presenting Outstanding Supporting Actor in a comedy with Amy Poehler. Harris has magically moved into the audience, sitting next to his partner.
8:26 p.m. The winner is… Jon Cryer. Harris says, “Wow.” Cryer says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me,” says Cryer. “I used to think that awards were just shallow tokens of momentary popularity,” he kids… “But now…” Alas, I didn’t predict this one, but I did say that Cryer would win if Harris didn’t.
8:28 p.m. They cut to commercial, because you couldn’t have Harris march back on stage just SECONDS after losing.
8:33 p.m. Harris is faux-inconsolable, declaring “Well, the night could have gone in two directions. We are now in the second direction. The host lost. You can do this. You can do this. It’s not awkward. I won’t let it be awkward.”
8:34 p.m. Why is Justin Timberlake dressed like a nerd? And why is he joking about the girls guys dream of being with? He’s Justin Timberlake. Since when did he have to choose?
8:35 p.m. He’s presenting Lead Actor in a Comedy. Sarah Silverman has a lovely new mustache. The Emmy goes to… Toni Collette. The other ladies pretend to be happy. “Wow, this is insanely confronting,” Collette says, slightly confusingly. Also confusing? Collette’s proclamation that Steven Spielberg and company found a yet-to-be-discovered Diablo Cody. This is a bit specious and factually fuzzy. But whatever she says! I did not, incidentally, predict this one.
8:38 p.m. “Congratulations Toni and congratulations Jon Cryer,” Harris says, before being piped into the press room. “So Neil, how did it feel when they called your name?” Harris asks. Cryer holds up the envelop proving that it showed his name.
8:39 p.m. Oh my goodness Blake Lively looks good. I’m afraid I may not be able to blog for a few minutes. And yeah, Leighton Meester’s pretty, too.
8:39 p.m. The producers obviously knew that I’d be distracted by Lively and Meester, because they’re presenting the guest comedy awards, which were already given to Tina Fey and Justin Timberlake.
8:40 p.m. Another Kanye joke. Fey thanks Lorne Michaels, saying she’d be nowhere without him, adding, “Justin would still be famous and very rich.”
8:41 p.m. Directing in a Comedy Series. The directors actually get to talk to the camera. Nice. Several of them have accents. Who knew? Beth McCarthy of “30 Rock” has the best clip, getting into a slap fight with Jack McBrayer. Jeffrey Blitz — a French Literature major at the School of Hard Knocks — wins for “The Office” and gets the honor of having Blake Lively stumble over his name. Ah. He was responsible for Angela throwing the cat into the crawl space? Well deserved!
8:43 p.m. Wait. Don’t just show me the clip and leave me hanging… Who won “American Idol”? Was it Adam Lambert?!?!?
8:48 p.m. That was just about the nicest Rob Lowe joke NPH could have made. Lowe is presenting Lead Actor in a Comedy, making a “dr. vegas” reference. He says that we’ve forgotten it. Not true! I’ll never forget “dr. vegas,” nor will Amy Adams! A fine CBS drama. Well, “dramedy.”
8:50 p.m. The Emmy goes to Alec Baldwin. “To be honest, I’d trade this to look like him,” Baldwin says, pointing at Rob Lowe. The sad thing is that does anybody remember “Hunt For Red October” and “Beetlejuice”? It’s not like Alec Baldwin didn’t use to be a stud. He thanks Tina, but makes special time to thank Lorne Michaels.
8:53 p.m. Everybody with YouTube has already seen the full assortment of “Family Guy” clips in which Stewie brutalizes Brian for contemplating voting for any other show for Outstanding Comedy Series. Ah. OK. We aren’t rushing Outstanding Comedy series. That’s being held to the ending.
8:54 p.m. Our next genre is reality. If ever there were a time to check in on your fantasy football team, it’s now. Oh look. My team is beating the snot out of Alan Sepinwall’s team. He still saved “Chuck.” So he’s got that going for him.
8:56 p.m. Wait. Did they just say that Kris Allen won “American Idol”? Huh. Who knew.
8:57 p.m. Two people from “Dancing with the Stars” dance. As I can’t spell their names, I won’t. They’re joined by a full troop. If my Slingbox connection weren’t sub-par, I’d identify them for you. The performance is fun, but brief. It was choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon.
8:58 p.m. NPH is very pleased with the routine.
8:58 p.m. Jon Cryer and Hayden Panettiere are, for no good reason, presenting outstanding reality host.
8:59 p.m. The winner is… Jeff Probst. For the second consecutive year. “Neil Patrick Harris, this is how you host the Emmys. Nice job,” Probst says. See, he was one of the blundering hosts last year. He shares his win with all dreams and quotes Joseph Campbell, thereby making the most insufferably pretentious speech in Emmy history. Thanks, Probst. It’s not that I *mind* Joseph Campbell. Or Jeff Probst. In fact, he’s a great reality host. He just sometimes forgets to not take himself so seriously.
9:05 p.m. I like the behind-the-scenes stuff as we start each segment. I’m all for going behind the curtain.
9:06 p.m. Tracy Morgan amusing jokes about “30 Rock” being a reality show. Well, not exactly “amusingly.” But he does make the joke. Is there any chance something other than “The Amazing Race” wins? It’s unbeaten in this category. It’s like Mike Tyson in the ’80s.
9:08 p.m. The Emmy goes to… “The Amazing Race.” I LOVE “The Amazing Race.” But come on. This is just lazy. Bertram Van Munster begins by confessing, “I don’t know what to say anymore.” My vote probably would have been for “Top Chef.” I don’t have a vote.
9:09 p.m. “Unbelievable. Upsets at every turn,” Harris cracks, before moving on to the Movies and Miniseries montage. We’re now going to give a few awards to “Grey Gardens.” HBO will be very humble. The funny thing is that whole montage was cut together from like three movies and miniseries.
9:12 p.m. Kevin and Kyra prompt a not-so-funny Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon joke. Who will win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Movie and Miniseries? Shoreh Agdashloo. Nice. I can’t think of five people whose accents I love more. She’s out of breath saying, “I cherish this more than you can possibly imagine.”
9:14 p.m. Supporting Actor? Ken Howard wins for “Grey Gardens.” I can’t believe Ken Howard was never nominated for “The White Shadow.” “This is very encouraging,” he jokes, making a reference to Ruth Gordon’s famous oxsLNhH0yjA”>Oscar acceptance speech. He then makes a Kanye/Joe Wilson joke. Howard’s speech is actually one of the evening’s highlights, wishing his tearful wife a happy birthday and thanking the woman who gave him a kidney. Also, he was The White Shadow.
9:22 p.m. Kate Walsh is tall and Chandra Wilson is not. They’re presenting Outstanding Lead Actor in a Movie or Miniseries. These awards are getting really rushed. And the Emmy goes to… Brendan Gleeson. It’s tough to argue with that one. He’s darned good and it’s another award to a guy with a terrific accent.
9:25 p.m. Barbie’s back. She’s cute. But I’m not sure if she’s actually real.
9:26 p.m. Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Love Hewitt, now paired on CBS’ Friday night, come out and make not-funny jokes about mediums. The Emmy for Movie and Miniseries Writing goes to Andrew Davies for “Little Dorrit,” meaning once again that David Simon can’t catch an Emmy break.
9:27 p.m. The Directing prize goes to… Dearbhla Walsh for “Little Dorrit.” Somebody stop “Little Dorrit.” It’s on a roll. I believe she’s the first Emmy winner in history named “Dearbhla.”
9:30 p.m. NPH welcomes the accountants and threatens that they’re going to explain the voting process.
9:31 p.m. HA! It’s a joke. NPH cuts in as “Dr. Horrible.” “I have hacked into your broadcast to tell you that television is dead,” Dr. Horrible tells us.
9:32 p.m. “The future of home entertainment is the Internet,” he gloats. He also makes a joke about buffering time and Internet sizes. He finally gets punched by Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer. He loves “CSI: Miami,” he declares.
9:32 p.m. 95% of America doesn’t have a darned clue what’s happening.
9:33 p.m. And just like that, it’s over. Sigh.
9:33 p.m. Alec Baldwin is next to present Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Will it be Jessica or Drew? Drew or Jessica?
9:34 p.m. It’s Jessica Lange. Drew does a VERY good job of pretending to be happy. Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin starred together on Broadway in “Streetcar Named Desire.” Lange gets sweetly choked up when thanking Drew and her “great, great heart.” She also thanks Albert Maysles, which is nice. She closes with “And to mothers and daughters.”
9:42 p.m. “Please welcome the comedy stylings of Kiefer Sutherland and Anna Torv,” NPH introduces. Strangely, Anna Torv never dresses like this on “Fringe.” But if the ratings continue to go down…
9:43 p.m. “Grey Gardens” wins the Emmy for Outstanding Movie. Everybody pretends to be shocked. Michael Sucsy accepts. He’s also out of breath. Are there people in the aisles with cattle prods or something?
9:45 p.m. Outstanding Miniseries is “Little Dorrit.” Everybody pretends to be shocked. The producer says “We’re thrilled that ‘Little Dorrit’ has gone down so well on this side of the Atlantic.” It’s unclear if this is meant as a double-entendre.
9:46 p.m. Our next genre is Variety. Lots of lively programming for a boring category.
9:49 p.m. Next presenters as Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki, because it would have been rude for Emmy producers only to have invited Jim and Kaley.
9:50 p.m. The Variety TV directors also get to talk to the camera as well, including an “American Idol” director on a tractor. The Emmy goes to Bruce Gowers, that man on the “American Idol” tractor. This is presumably the biggest Emmy “American Idol” has ever won. “Yeah, high there,” Bruce begins. He directed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” video, which means he’s had a pretty awesome career. He doesn’t thank Ryan Seacrest or Simon Cowell.
9:52 p.m. The Variety Writing category is often funny, because the staffs often funny things. The “Daily Show” writers are represented with used cars, for example. The “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” staff is represented with Conan rejecting their Facebook friend requests. Letterman’s staff is introduced with Billy Crystal singing their names (and ends with a Jay Leno joke). Brian Williams reads the names of the “Saturday Night Live” staff.
9:55 p.m. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” wins. “I haven’t had anything to say since George Bush left office,” the show’s lead writer, Steve Bodow, jokes.
10:02 p.m. Jimmy Fallon is an Emmy Award winner. He wants to host this show next year. Hopefully, it won’t happen, though Steve Carell and Glenn Closed are equally amused. Original Music and Lyrics? Is this a category? Or is this category only being broadcast because Justin Timberlake is going to win?
10:04 p.m. Oh my. The team from the 81st Academy Awards wins. Ooops. “This is ridiculous, I think they moved this award to primetime because there was an increase in sex appeal among the nominees,” cracks the main writer, who knows that he was never supposed to be up on the stage. “Just the dumbest, dumbest, ugliest people, the least televisable you could have given this award to,” he jokes. [I’ve been informed that the accepting writer was Dan Harmon, also creator of “Community” on NBC. That makes it funnier.]
10:06 p.m. Sir Ricky Gervais comes out next. This ought to be fun. Right? He has immediate technical problem. “Better than last year, isn’t it,” Gervais says, nodding over at NPH.
10:07 p.m. He calls this the best award ceremony in the world. He jokes that the Oscars have too many movie people, adding, “In this room, I’m probably above average.” He makes a joke about Rainn Wilson’s looks and about his executive producer status on “The Office” and their attempts to stiff him on residuals. “That joke just for the 5000 people in this room,” he adds. “Not for the 5000 people watching at home.”
10:09 p.m. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” wins for the Music and Variety Special. “We’re just happy to be up here looking more handsome than Ricky Gervais, quite frankly,” Stewart says. He also takes time to salute NPH. Stewart knows from difficult award-hosting duties.
10:16 p.m. The President of the Academy, sitting in the audience, hands NPH a pin. Then? A montage of DRAMA. And since “Drama” is the logical evolution of all things, that must be what we’re all here for. I’m not sure I like this structure and hierarchy.
10:17 p.m. The audience cheers loudly for the inclusion of “True Blood” in the drama montage. I failed to hear anybody cheer for the inclusion of “Criminal Minds,” which was pretty craven even by CBS cross-promotional standards.
10:19 p.m. Ladies Love Cool James and Chris O’Donnell present Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama. The Emmy goes to Michael Emerson for “Lost.” This award is one year late for Emerson, but he’s good enough that nobody will complain. “Oh my goodness, what a fine honor,” says Emerson, who recalls flying to Hawaii to do a guest spot.
10:21 p.m. We’re on to Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. The Emmy goes to… Cherry Jones for “24.” Sepinwall assured me that Wiest had this one in the bag. Boo. “Wowza!” Cherry declares. There’s no doubt that Jones is one of our Great American Actors, but did she really deserve *this* award for *this* role? She promises that her Emmy will be on the craft service table tomorrow.
10:23 p.m. Sarah McLachlan is now going to sing “I Will Remember You” over the Necrology. So many people have died just this summer alone. How to keep up? Karl Malden? Lots of applause. They got Henry Gibson into the montage really fast. This may, in fact, be the most star-studded Necrology ever. The crowd is clapping through the whole thing.
10:26 p.m. Do we assume Michael Jackson gets to end things?
10:26 p.m. Paul Newman takes the lead in applause. No. There’s Jacko. And Patrick Swayze. And Farrah. What a HORRIBLE year. Walter Cronkite gets the last image.
10:33 p.m. Stephen Moyer and David Boreanaz. They’re both dreamy vampires! I get it! I hope nobody told they were bringing Boreanaz on because he once played a vampire. Because he probably hit them. They’re only on to introduce the Drama Guest Actor winners, Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox.
10:35 p.m. Burstyn and Fox are presenting Best Director for a Drama. The Emmy goes to Rod Holcomb for the “E.R.” finale. That’s actually a fairly massive upset as well. Now how about Outstanding Writing for a Drama series. Matthew Weiner and some other people.
10:36 p.m. The winners are Matthew Weiner and Kater Gordon for “Mad Men.” Matthew Weiner is accepting for the team. “Only one of us is allowed to speak,” Weiner explains. Kater Gordon is just about the most grateful person in the whole world right now. If you could bottle her happiness and drink it, you could live forever.
10:39 p.m. Simon Baker tells us that some of the most complex roles for females are on television. Thanks, Simon! He also takes particular pleasure in tearing into Mariska Hargitay’s name.
10:40 p.m. The Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is… Glenn Close for being Glenn Close. “I just think it’s such a huge privilege to be in the community they’re all part of,” Close says, referencing the Necrology as proof of the legacy of the business. “We all go where there’s great writing,” she explains. She gives a nod to her “beautiful Rose, all our beautiful Rose.” Rose Byrne is slightly embarrassed. She is, after all, the lead actress on “Damages.”
10:48 p.m. Dana Delany, looking bookish, will present Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama. It’s a tough field, but the winner, for the second straight year, is Bryan Cranston. Hugh Laurie will win next year. That’s a promise.
10:50 p.m. “I’m thankful for some many things,” Cranston says, comparing himself to Lee Trevino, who was struck by lightning twice. “I’m so thankful that Glenn Close is really a woman,” he adds, comparing himself to Cinderfella, calling himself a “poor kid from The Valley.” Cranston is a classy guy and he gives good speech.
10:52 p.m. They’ve saved the best for last. Out first is Bob Newhart, presenting Outstanding Comedy Series. Bob Newhart gives a Bob Newhart-style introduction.
10:54 p.m. The winner is… “30 Rock.” Tina Fey accepts for the team. “That was a nailbiter,” she says. She singles out “Scotty at the front desk” for thanks. She salutes NBC brass for keeping the show on the air “even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show.”
10:56 p.m. “True Blood” won something! That “TV breakthrough” thing that Cat Deeley made up this morning. It’s sponsored by Vaseline. And yes, I know that “True Blood” won a real Emmy for casting last weekend.
11:00 p.m. Well, we came close to finishing on time. Sigourney Weaver has the honor of presenting Outstanding Drama.
11:01 p.m. And the Emmy goes to… “Mad Men.” Yep. Both Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy are repeats. “What an incredible year… The election and then this,” Weiner says. “We worked very hard to not have it stink the second year.”
11:03 p.m. “I know that everything is changing, but I’m not afraid of it,” Weiner declares, reflecting on the state of the medium.
11:04 p.m. “May we see you again on broadcast television next year,” closes NPH, who did a truly admirable job of hosting. Good work, Doogie.
11:05 p.m. That was a TON of blogging. Thanks for reading along.